Thursday, 19 January 2017

Extending our ISO

At the end of last year due to the great efforts of its Internal Audit Team, ARAG plc successfully extended its ISO27001:2013 Certification from its Bristol office location to encompass its new London office location. The London office was opened at the beginning of last year to service the specialist City business.

CFO Bob Moreton congratulated the team of Frances Box, Nigel Sobers, Jordan Wall, David Caines, Jo Graham and Ben Parkinson who are drawn from a variety of departments within the organisation and who managed to juggle their ISO duties with the "day job" of looking after customers.  Khoo Kah Liang, a Manager in the IT Department, provided technical support and expertise. This enhanced certification reinforces the company's commitment to protecting customer personal data and business partner’s confidential information.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Thanks for all the Feedback!

We were thrilled to win two more awards at this year’s Underwriting Service Awards ceremony, held in London last month. This would not have been possible without the input of all the brokers who took the time to vote and provide their comments on our service, in total 650 insurance brokers contributed towards the awards.

Being voted both Legal Expenses Team of the Year and MGA Team of the Year is an honour, of course, but the feedback we get from these awards is even more important to ARAG, as it helps us to improve our service even more. So, a big thanks to everyone who participated.   

What you thought of our service
We were really pleased to see that over half (52%), of you use ARAG for your legal expenses insurance, which means a lot of high quality feedback for us. These are a few highlights from the answers that you gave:

The last thing we want to do is take your support for granted. We will study all the comments that you left and see where we can improve. In pursuit of better customer service, we have already restructured our claims department to adapt to the changing regulatory and legal landscape and ensure we can meet customer expectations now and in the future.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Dramatic rise in money claims sign of rising debt

The Government has just released scores on the doors for County- Court civil (non-family) cases in England and Wales for July to September.

The number of cases "dealt with" stood at almost half a million – an increase of around 24% on the same the previous year. This is the highest quarterly total since 2008, and is driven entirely by an increasing trend in specified money claims being issued at the County Court Business Centre (CCBC).
Specified Money claims
91% of claims were money claims. These claims can be filed on line and are then issued in bulk by the County Court Business Centre (CCBC) in Northampton.
The number of claims  "issued" is reflective of the volume of claims filed and the increase in claims  is of concern since it is a gauge of the number of debt recovery contract and property damage disputes (amongst other claim types) being pursued.
Household debt is rising 
The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has given a warning about the high level of debt in UK households. In particular he said that consumers were borrowing more on their credit cards and other unsecured debt. Figures showed that credit card lending is at a record level, up by £571m in the last month. 

Non-specified Money claims
9% of claims were non-specified money claims – which were mainly personal injury claims. Despite protestations about ever –increasing volumes of whip-lash cases, the number of non- specified Money claims reduced by 8% compared to the same quarter in 2015.
Early help to chase debts
Once they have registered to use our on-line legal services Essential Business Legal policyholders can create a series of useful debt recovery letters which can be effective in avoiding arrears accruing. Our legal document website has smart software that allows the user to populate the letters by prompting for required information in response to simple questions. Guidance notes are available to help with this process and there is a progress bar which shows how much of the process has been completed.
The first letter in the series is a polite reminder. If no agreement to pay is received after a couple of weeks the second letter can be sent to the debtor. The third letter is a final demand which can be used as a "letter before action" if the customer still refuses to pay the sum(s) owed. Users should select "Money Claims on-line" when they get to a question about filing a claim .The documents are so smart that they allow the user to automatically calculate and add interest for late payment.
We would recommend that policyholders retain evidence that they have sent the letter(s) – either by retaining confirmation of recorded delivery or e-mail receipt. When all attempts to collect have been exhausted, policyholders can download a claim form (from the legal services website, or from our company website). This should be completed and sent to us with evidence of sending the debt recovery letters. We will validate the claim and instruct a lawyer under the terms of our Insured's LEI policy to pursue the debt. 

Final words from me…. Debts are increasing…. Get your ARAG policyholders to register for on-line legal services. It could prevent debts escalating but if it becomes necessary to pursue legal action you have them covered!

Monday, 28 November 2016

Courts and Tribunals update

The Government has announced concessions which amount to a U-turn in relation to recently introduced increases to Immigration and Asylum Tribunal fees.   

From 25 November  applicants will be charged fees at previous levels and reimbursements of the difference between previous fees and the new (higher) fees will be made.   

The change of heart is to welcomed but it  is disappointing that we have yet to receive any similar news in relation to the level of fees payable to bring claims to Employment tribunals. 

The outcome of the Government’s review of Employment tribunal fees is long-awaited. 

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

New faces bring further underwriting experience

It’s fitting that, as we reached our 10th birthday, ARAG UK was also well on its way to hitting the one hundred employee milestone.

It has been a year of growth for ARAG, and the latest recruits to join the team in our Bristol HQ represent an expansion of our underwriting department.

Andy Dyer joins the company as Underwriting Operations Manager, bringing with him more than thirty years’ insurance industry experience, most of which has been gained in the legal expenses sector.

Joining Andy is Ryan Smith, our new ATE Technical Underwriting Manager. Ryan also has plenty of insurance experience, having worked in the industry for over fifteen years, more than half of which has been spent as an ATE Underwriter.

Also new to the team is ATE Technical Underwriter, Tom Hunt. A law graduate, Tom has worked in insurance for over four years, most recently as an Assistant Underwriter.